lunedì 20 settembre 2010


Serious trouble for Il Duce began this summer, when the People of Freedom Party fell apart. Il Duce Berlusconi kicked out the coalition's cofounder Gianfranco Fini after he refused to back legislation to help Il Duce escape corruption charges. After the ally's banishment, Il Duce lost 30 other parliamentarians who backed Fini and his majority in parliament. Il Duce has since been on the political offensive. He insists that even without Fini, his coalition with the Northern League still has the support of more than half of Italy's voters.

After a series of political gaffes and scandals, Il Duce finds himself politically vulnerable, faced with low approval ratings and the threat of losing elections. Berlusconi, 73, lost his precarious coalition of former fascists, separatist northerners and his own supporters.

The notoriously dysfunctional Italian government has been forced to come to terms with a national debt larger than Italy's entire GDP. Il Duce Berlusconi has proposed more than 30 billion euros in budget cuts over the next two years, including a billion-euro cut to the national health care system, and a crackdown on fraudulent disability payments. Berlusconi also called for a three-year pay freeze for all government workers.

A scene in the Italian Parliament shows what it looks like when governments almost collapse in guinealand. The members of parliament jumped up from their red leather chairs, pointed their fingers at each other, shouted, forged last-minute alliances or argued with each other. A Berlusconi supporter even hit a defector in the face with his campaign documents!

Basil Venitis muses Berlusconi has compared himself to Benito Mussolini, complaining that like the Second World War dictator he does not have enough real power. Berlusconi has often been accused of a dictatorial style of governance by the Opposition and even members of his own Rightist coalition.

Venitis points out Il Duce cannot control his penis! Il Duce Berlusconi orders up playmates to his official residence as if they were a plate of oysters, by the dozen and preferably young and fresh. Il Duce is an illusionist. He always seizes upon a valid problem, but he does so purely out of self-interest. His tricks are based on distracting Italians. If he doesn't like something, he immediately tries to amend the constitution. This would be inconceivable in any other country. You can't depend on anything in Italy. Not even the truth and the country's demise. Italy has become increasingly enigmatic, bizarre, incomprehensible, and it continues to be a top vacation destination.

Basil, muses Italy is the global center of dolce vita. Italy has been in a state of political denial for years. Caesars mused that Britons can never be civilized, but now Britons are the most civilized people in the world, calling the Italians guineas! Italians doze in front of the television programs of media czar Il Duce Berlusconi, who himself has made a fulltime job of protecting his guineas in parliament with more and more new laws that will save them from prosecution. Meanwhile, opposition Italokleptocrats are devouring each other over trivialities.

Sicily is a mafia stronghold, but underworld power structures affect people all across the country. Organized crime constitutes 7% of Italy's gross domestic product(GDP). Most Sicilian businesses pay the pizzo, which costs on average 500 to 600 euros per month. It only accounts for around 5% of mafia income, but even so, it is important for mafia to retain it. If shop owners refuse to pay, they may be punished. For example, their buildings may be destroyed or they may receive death threats.

Omerta is a code of silence, common in areas of southern Italy, such as Sicily, Calabria, and Campania, where mafias like Cosa Nostra, Drangheta, and Camorra are strong. Omerta implies the categorical prohibition of cooperation with state authorities or reliance on its services, even when one has been victim of a crime. Even if somebody is convicted for a crime he has not committed, he is supposed to serve the sentence without giving the police any information about the real criminal, even if that criminal has nothing to do with the Mafia himself. Within Mafia culture, breaking omerta is punishable by death.

Secret societies run through the tapestry of Italy's history like a half-hidden thread: from the 19th-century proto-nationalists known as Carbonari to Propaganda Due (P2), a rogue Masonic lodge with a mission to infiltrate the organs of state and a membership that included politicians, soldiers, spooks, and Il Duce Berlusconi.

Prosecutors have cautioned seven people they suspect of belonging to an illegal cabal. Some are close to Berlusconi. Senator Marcello Dell'Utri, who is already fighting a conviction for mafia links, created the party with which Berlusconi entered politics. Denis Verdini is a national organizer of his current political vehicle, the People of Freedom movement (PdL). Nicola Cosentino was a junior economy minister.

Flavio Carboni of P3, is a businessman tried for murder in the still-mysterious death, in 1982, of Roberto Calvi, a prominent banker and P2 initiate. Carboni was jailed in connection with the P3 inquiry. P3 is conspiring to further Berlusconi's interests with a mix of dubious blandishments and dirty tricks. P3 dug into the sex life of an opposition candidate, plotted to influence a politically sensitive corruption inquiry, and tried to get at judges before they ruled on a measure to grant Berlusconi and others immunity from prosecution.

In leaked wiretaps members of P3 cite an authority figure code-named Caesar, Berlusconi himself! By defending the P3 suspects, rather than just letting the prosecutors do their work, Berlusconi leaves himself open to the charge of being mafioso. Il Duce Berlusconi has backed four ministers accused of shady dealings, both of whom subsequently resigned.

The son of a mafia kingpin revealed Berlusconi paid his father many millions of euros. Then at a youth convention of his People of Freedom party, Berlusconi made headlines by suggesting young women should look for wealthy boyfriends. Also his close ally Giorgio Stracquadanio sparked broad criticism for saying it was totally legitimate for women to use their bodies to kick-start their careers.

Berlusconi's approval ratings are about 37 percent, according to a recent poll, down more than four percent from a public opinion poll taken in May. Il Duce no longer has a majority. He's been trying these last few days to get allies from centrist parties, but so far he doesn't seem to have succeeded.

The first test of Il Duce's ability to stay in power comes at the end of the month, when parliament votes on a five-point plan for reviving Italy's stagnant economy. Il Duce will likely win the vote, because the Fini coalition does not want to be forced into elections before it gains enough support to have a chance at winning. And Berlusoni's own party is just as vulnerable. Il Duce is not in favor of immediate elections. He will lose some support to the Northern League, and he might not win the Senate.

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